Contraception is often assumed to be, whether correctly so or not, a woman’s responsibility. Sitting on a plastic chair at a walk-in clinic with your best friend as you both read leaflets about chlamydia and try not to make direct eye contact with anybody else.
Normally the experience is uncomfortable but infrequent and worth it so that you can enjoy an active sex life. However, contraceptives are never that easy.
Each contraceptive comes with it’s own semi-dissertation of warnings and side effects: weight gain, weight loss, acne, blood clots, depression, suicide etc. So, women go home and talk to their mothers, sisters, friends and social media pleading which choice is the ‘be all and end all’.
But, contraception isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ kind of thing. Nothing really is come to think of it.
Somebody always knows of somebodies close friend who went through hell with that contraceptive. And, these aren’t stories. They are the gods honest truth.
It’s all about trial and error but sometimes finding what suits your body is difficult, maybe even traumatic. Pills have given countless women blood clots, IUD’s have perforated bowels, implants have got lost and injections include needles. Enough said.
It would be near impossible, and (more relevantly) boring to read a list of every single method that is on offer and the reasons why women choose each one.
This ‘trial and error’ reality has led women to hospitalisations, fatalities, emergency appointments, suicide and unbearable side effects. Thus, a gap in the market appeared. Promising women an actual ‘one size fits all’ method. Something that wouldn’t harm or even change your body, mood or health.
Introducing contraceptive apps…
It seems easy: wake up, take your temperature, input your digits, receive an alert and do it.
The only side effect that comes to mind: unwanted pregnancies. A side effect that hundreds of thousands are willing to risk because the other methods are so unbearable.
Women are incited by the idea of side-effect free contraception, alerts to remind you to track and the ease of being able to check your cycle at any time on our generations favourite item: the mobile phone.
Over 200,000 women in the UK use the app, that’s a lot of women turning their backs on the professionals and turning on the app.
Other methods are scientifically accurate with proper research supporting their effectiveness. However, even if a woman were to input her data every day correctly it still would not provide 100% accurate forecasts as bodies are never that simple. Much like a woman can vomit her pill out of her system so can a slight temperature throw off the app, what if it has just been a hot night?
Even more interestingly the apps themselves are made by physicists and not, as you’d expect, gynaecologists. That’s like asking a hairdresser to do your nails. They both work in beauty but that’s just not who you’d trust with your precious locks. So, are you going to trust a physicist with your womb?
To use the app the requirements are relatively simple: wake up and take your temperature before you sit up. However, here’s some things that can throw off your reading (and thus your results): oversleeping, room temperature, being hung over, insomnia, not taking your temperature immediately, irregular periods etc.
So, to conclude, general bodily changes and even room temperature can throw off the accuracy of what women are choosing to monitor their fertility and use as contraception.
The notion of natural birth control is innovative, sexy and definitely alluring. However, it is also not yet scientifically sound. Something women are finding, in some cases, impossible to accept due to the alternatives.
Alternatives that are prescribed and administered by medical professionals that women are losing faith in. It’s time to realise why women are trusting an app rather than those who lead the field of fertility.
If you’d like to read my own personal experience of contraceptives, including my personal choice of using the ever unpopular method of IUD insertion just click here!